Public Service Union contemplates industrial action
"That is the reason why we had this press conference; that is the reason why we are on a mobilization drive because the Government is saying nothing to us," said the General Secretary of Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) Thomas Letang. "When we, as an executive, are satisfied that we have sufficiently mobilized the membership we will bring the membership together; we will decide what action we are going to take. Whatever protest action we decide to embark on, it is one where we expect the full support of the members," said Letang.
Speaking at a press conference on October 1, 2014 Letang said: "After reviewing a number of factors we are proposing salary and wage increases of three percent, three percent and four percent respectively for the triennium 2012 to 2015".
He revealed that the union had received on average 1.13% increase over a 12 year period.
"In 2000 to 2001 we got no salary increase; in 2001 to 2002, two percent and 2002 to 2003 zero; on an average for that triennium of 2000 to 2003 the increase was 0.67%. For the triennium 2003 to 2006 there was a wage freeze - zero, zero, zero; from 2006 to 2009 three percent in the first year, one percent in the second year and two percent in the third year; on average, two percent for the triennium, that is 2006 to 2009. 2009 to 2012 we got an average of 1.84%, less than two percent; three percent in 2009 to 2010; 2010 to 2011, one percent and 2011 to 2012 1.5%; overall an average of 1.13% over four trienniums over a 12-year period; that is what public officers have gotten. We think our proposal of three percent, three percent and four percent worked out to an average of 1.5% annually over 15 years, which is less than two percent".
Letang explained that there are certain expenses public servants need to pay; therefore, they are disappointed in the level of attention that this matter has received.
"We have to think of Social Security contributions which have increased and will continue to increase; we have to think of the cost of living and the rising cost of food, fish, petrol, medical bills and transportation. We have seen certain activities taking place in our society which indicates to us that the resources are available to give an increase to Public Officers. We are very disappointed that this matter is not given the level of attention that it deserves," Letang said.
In addition, beside the increase in salaries, the members of the DPSU are requesting that the Government makes contributions to other areas as well.
"The Government of Dominica needs to make contributions to the medical insurance scheme that we have; we look at the whole question of duty free on building materials, allocation of land for housing development, shuttle services for nurses, amendment to the Pension Act, allowance and accommodation to pharmacists, review of the conditions of employment. One of the things we would like anyone in a position to review is the question of the conditions of employment. As we speak to you now, there is no written agreement for non-established employees; the (differences in) benefits that non-established employees get as opposed to already established employees are very, very vast. (We need to) review the Workman Compensation Act," said Letang.